Chimbote Week 2 – The Melting Pot

Disclaimer –As I (Chelms) lack the technical savvy and creativity of Belk, who did a great job with the BB for the Week 1 Chimbote trip, I solicited the help of my team in putting together the “Story” behind our trip (plus I needed an excuse for why it took me longer than Belk to post).  The editor is responsible for any complaints as the team gave me incredible material for this post.  It is long and there are no convenient short cuts (or you can watch the featured video if your attention span is too short).  It was written both for the 16 pax who went to help them remember details of the week and for all others in an effort to give them a real sense of what we experienced.

Overall – Having PAX from 5 different regions was special and some deep new bonds were formed between men from 5 different regions.  The trip was a Melting Pot of F3 men.  We bonded immediately when we met the Carpex (NOT Raleigh) guys in the Miami Airport and then with the Houston guys in Lima.   We had a great mixture of personalities from the slap stick humor of Snoop Dog (Houston) to the big heart of Water Wings (Carpex), the sarcasm of Wegmans (Fort Mill) to the Zen like mannerisms of TML coupled with the constant harassment of Sauerkraut by Kickin Chicken.   We shared joy, laughter, sorrow, sadness, sweat, and pain that YHC would not have predicted prior to the week.

Google Photo Album Link to see a bunch of photos ( hope this link works) – Photo Album

The PAX

Metro

  • Sauerkraut – Our leader with incredible limbo skills.   He kept us on track except when he delegated navigation to Slaughter one morning for the run and they got lost. For the most, he ignored the constant harassment about his leadership from Kickin Chicken (who may have been jealous given this trip was handled so much better than when he led as far as I could tell)
  • Back up – Poor dancer and not much better dresser but great 2nd in command. Kept the daily calendar updated even if several guys (Caesar and the really old guys) were constantly late.
  • TML – Travel planning guru (except for the Miami to Charlotte leg) and as focused as always although room-mates in left wing of dorm said they couldn’t sleep because of his incessant talking at night.
  • Kickin Chicken – Man gives the best exchange rates this side of Al Capone while Bobby Flay has nothing to worry about based on his cooking demo at the ACAF kitchen but T-claps for volunteering to be the “guinea pig”. He was a teen idol with the local kids but couldn’t find a new wife no matter how hard the PAX tried to set him up.   I think the thought of a wife still breast feeding scared him off.
  • Slaughter – Dog catcher he is not (more like dog treat) and travel guide not in his future. But he is a great leader, gets stuff done and pushes the PAX
  • Pigskin – War daddy (by just a few months) and double respect. Impressed by the effort but think he was secretly traveling there to look for an affordable retirement community.   His Spanish actually sounds Spanish, unlike several others who were attempting the local language
  • My Sharona – Also a double respect and impressed by his effort as well.   He only forgot stuff on 6 of the 9 days so not too bad for a double R although he never forgot meal time.
  • Stinger – His self-grade of “helluva Q” was fairly accurate with respect to difficulty but way off the mark regarding creativity. Sprints for 45 minutes is not creative but it did suck (he called out “just one more time” like 10 times).  His Polaroid skills are best in class, mainly because no one else owns a Polaroid.
  • Caesar – Youngster of the Metro group but clearly well trained (except for table manners, waiting his turn, and being on time). Won award for most time spent on the phone with the M (how sweet)

Area51

  • Chelms – Just did what I was told and tried to stay out of the way of the “experts” (redefined expert that week). Discovered I have a special smelling talent that is not a good talent to have in Chimbote
  • JRR Tolkien aka Chino Guapo – Second trip to Chimbote in 2019, presumably in an attempt to get his Peruvian green card and/or continue to organize his political campaign for mayor of Chimbote. The political machine is a finely tuned organization already.   Filled up the Google cloud with all the video and pictures he shot (he did not take this one) but wore himself out (again)

Fort Mill

  • Wegmans – Unassuming hit man with the wit and sarcasm of a wily veteran. Southern accent is flawless, which is impressive for a man from up north. He would make a great foreman as he watched all the other guys on our “old man crew” do most of the work

Carpex (NOT Raleigh)

  • Liverpool – Deep thinker and moving devotional on Thursday. Easy target at 6ft 5in – 310 lbs.   Now close to F3 Royalty given he has been appointed as one of the @F3_TRUEbadours
  • Water Wings – Constantly playing with the kids (possibly on the trip to conduct R&D for a new Aqua Tots location in Chimbote). Might have won an award for eating volume but came in distant 2nd on this trip (see below)

Houston

  • Hostage – Apparently had not eaten while held hostage and thus ate everything in site during the trip. My Sharona, WW, and Ceaser came in a distant tied for 2nd.   Liverpool says he made it to a fourth helping one night but I don’t remember the food ever lasting until a fourth serving (or even a third)
  • Snoop Dog – The Rodney Dangerfield of the group so he really needs some help with being introverted in order to share his talent more often

The THANG

Summary of Daily Devotionals

Monday – We are all brothers led by Sauerkraut

Tuesday – No man left behind led by Stinger

Wednesday – I am 3rd led by Back Up

Thursday – Get right led by Liverpool

Friday – Give back led by Pigskin

Friday (travel day) – YHC got off to an auspicious start as I had to off-load 15 pounds from my 2 suitcases into My Sharon’s suit cases.  However, it turned out to be a sign of God watching over us as we ended up with exactly 200 lbs of donations in 4 bags.   Kickn Chicken (“KC”) and Chino Guapo (“CG”) sweet talked  the AA worker (maybe sweet talk but more likely KC slipped her a $20 or she just wanted to get rid of him) and she let KC’s bag go thru a tad heavy.  We get a peek of the week ahead when someone in the PAX makes fun of Liverpool right after meeting him and Water Wings in the Miami airport.

Saturday – 2/9/2019: Explore Lima (Contributions by TML and Slaughter)

One of the biggest highlights of this trip as a whole was having the guys join from outside of Metro.

Carpex PAX – Water Wings (left) and Liverpool 

Houston PAX – Snoop Dog (left) and Hostage

 

Fort Mill – Wegmans

It takes a lot to do a mission trip like this under any circumstance but jumping in with a group of Metro guys that are likely already tight with one another means the “outsiders” are motivated, passionate, fearless, etc. (pick your adjective). The connection with these guys from the outset in the Miami airport and Lima was instantaneous. You could tell right away it was just an awesome group of guys, and it was going to be a special addition having them there.

Other highlights from our time in Lima were:

  • Bus ride from airport to hotel was like fitting 30 Jamaican’s in a VW (evidently the bus is half the size it needs to be every year in order to save money but it’s well spent so we didn’t mind squeezing in and sitting on luggage even)
  • First “Roof Top” in Lima at mid-night after long day of travel was great start
  • As always, the run to Big Jesus is a great way to set the tone for the trip as it’s a great chance to begin to learn what brought everyone there and what they want to get out of the trip. Hostage forced Liverpool to walk the last mile up to the top and Liverpool noted the last time he ran 6 miles was – never.  Hostage was just glad Liverpool had the six.
  • It was fantastic to have a full day to explore the city, try some restaurants, and see the beautiful views of the ocean.  Also, it’s a great way to ease into the more difficult days ahead (at least from a physical standpoint). Wegman’s got a Latin massage but the details have been redacted as “Top Secret”.
  • Tolkien arranged the longest chocolate making training session ever
  • The fantastic dinner with the whole group overlooking some “ruins” with lots of laughs as guys get more relaxed and loose. CG’s forefathers were evidently buried there
  • Killer ceviche lunch at restaurant suggested by Backup. Struck by the “opulence” of lunch, dinner, and other areas explored in Lima in close proximity to the poverty of the barrios seen during the run and taxi rides.

Sunday, Lima – 2/10/2019: – Bus ride to Chimbote (Contributions by Hostage and Snoop Dog)

Highlights of the day were:

  • Wake up and haul 100+lbs of gear downstairs and overload the bus (again)
  • Take horn filled short ride to bus station – Chelm’s back-pack gets jacked at bus station as KC couldn’t chase down the culprits (KC would have caught them if he were 10 years younger but YHC respected the effort). The culprits were likely disappointed when they found out the bag was essentially full of my dirty underwear and smelly socks.
  • Load Big Bus for horn filled ride out of Lima into the desert for 8 hour ride
  • Time to get to know PAX Members seated near each other between naps
  • Saw small towns, beautiful beaches, rushing rivers (it rained Saturday night), mountains and more desert
  • Arrive in Chimbote to welcome music by Diego and his family
  • Attend Mass (Pigskin was probably the only one that could understand the words but it was special celebration none the less)
  • Selected rooms / bed and unpacked, meet a few key folks at the parish and enjoyed the Roof Top for the 1st official time

Monday, Chimbote – 2/11/2019: Devotional and workday #1 (Contributions by Sauerkraut and Chino Guapo)

Monday is the day where the rhythm of the trip takes hold.  Early wake-up for pre-run for the eager beavers in the group and  then the F3 workout at 6am with local PAX before breakfast, devotional, morning activity, lunch, afternoon activity, dinner, recover and rooftop time. It is easy to lose yourself in that daily rhythm but it is important to be present in the moment and soak up every experience so that it can be reflected on and prayed about at a later time.

Monday started with a good sweat. The fellowship of the pre-run was quickly followed by the experience that is an F3 Chimbote workout. The numbers were good and would grow as the week played out but the fact that those men were there and are committed to getting better made a powerful statement.

Next up was the prayer mass at the church that boards us for the week, Our Lady of Perpetual Help. This is a catholic church and being raised catholic I was able to follow along with the liturgical pace of the mass despite not being able to understand a word of the service.

We rolled from the mass over to our tour of the ACAF. I was not necessarily looking forward to this portion of the day as I had already toured the ACAF on last year’s trip. I was in for a very pleasant surprise. The improvements that have taken place at the ACAF in one years’ time were amazing. For one they have an actual storefront selling their goods which is amazing. The growth within their business units was truly something to marvel at as well. The bakery had taken off and they had added some other high end restaurant capabilities to their program as well. All of the furniture was sold out at the wood shop and tailor/sewing classes had doubled in size. Talk about acceleration.

The afternoon is where the rubber hits the road for the first time on the trip. Meet the family. My team’s house was in one of the main barrios, thus we not only get to serve the one family that we are building for but you also get to serve and interact with the surrounding neighbors as well. The anticipation and joy of that first day is one of the true highlights of the trip as you sink into the welcoming mass that is the barrio. Since trip 1 accidentally demo’d the wrong house (thinking God intended for that “accident” occurred), our family was doubly grateful to see us knowing that we were there to give them a new home to replace the one that was “lost” the week before.

For me (Kraut), the evening rooftop session of that night was one of the highlights of the trip. We missed our devotional in the morning due to the prayer mass and so we rescheduled it for that evening on the rooftop. We are all brothers was the theme and in the short time that we had been together it could not have been more apparent that this was in fact true. I have never experienced a group pull together so quickly and as tightly as our group did that first night. Guys came from Carpex, Houston, Area51, The Fort and Metro. Guys who did not know each other prior to the trip but had simply answered the call all came together as brothers that night and realized that we would accomplish something special as a group on this trip. I feel certain that despite pouring ourselves out on this trip we all received more than we gave which is often the case when you go out in the service of others.

Tuesday, Chimbote – 2/12/2019: Devotional and workday #2 (Contribution by Stinger while Kickin Chicken side sourced his part)

 Highlights of the day were:

  • Started the day with a helluva Q by Stinger (A for effort but F for creativity), lots of field sprints and lots of locals realizing they had a lot more in the tank than they realized and that working out with others pushes them far beyond what they might accomplish solo.   Kickin Chicken and a few others were not amused and also looking for more gas in the tank.
  • Devotion on No Man Left Behind – discussed parallels with Jesus’ parable on The Great Physician who came to save the sinner, not the righteous…Again, the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few…the parable of the lost sheep…and MEPHIBOSHETH!!!
  • First real ‘work’ day.  My focus was disproportionately on getting the work done, assessing the structural integrity of our ‘foundation’, and wondering how I was going to survive without a lick of Spanish rattling around in my brain.  In hindsight, I was in peak “Martha” mode on day 2, and thankfully my heart transitioned over to a “Mary” mode in the ensuing days.
  • Slaughter was a thorn in my side all day long trying to get me to at least acknowledge the beautifully joyful kids swarming around us.  And I found that I was deep down scared to love (sad, but true for Day 2).  As the Grinch would say, “Help me…I’m feeling!”
  • Had some awesome discussion with several of the new guys (Liverpool, Hostage, WW) at dinner, sharing snippets of personal testimony that would lay the groundwork for deepening bonds over the course of the week.

Wednesday, Chimbote – 2/13/2019: Devotional and workday #3 (Contributions by Back-up and Chelms)

Wednesday started out like all summer days in Chimbote – hot.

An early gang went out with the three brothers (Peaches, Tres Hombres, and Felix) for a quick 4 mile run. Backup had the Q for the main group of Pax at 6am and led the men in his best attempt at Spanish for a low mileage/high intensity workout highlighted by his demonstration of how to stretch your upper body after you have just worked out your lower body while wearing a hot pink ‘Speed For Need” shirt (be glad I didn’t post a picture of this).

Again, in his best Spanish, Backup gave the mix of men from Peru, Venezuela and USA what Living 3rd means and its importance in being HIM.  Backup led a deep discussion on guilt and all seemed to agree that it was better to move forward and “Get Right” in order to live 3rd now and in the future.

Wednesday’s work began and Gringo portion of the work was completed while the locals completed the finishing touches on Thursday morning.  For the record, Team 3 had there “punch list” signed off first.

It was a great day for all of us except for Slaughter as he was attacked by “pequeño perro peligroso”. Slaughter made the most of it by playing it up as the visiting female Med Students from North Dakota researched the appropriate medical advice online and Slaughter was advised to start treatment for Rabies upon arrival back in the states.  The PAX debated the diagnosis by the students and their suggestion of keeping it dry until he got home before seeking medical help (sort of like implying to just let him die if it gets worse before he got home).

Thursday, Chimbote – 2/14/2019: Devotional and workday #1 (Contributions by Liverpool and Water Wings)

 Thursday’s devotional overview (by Liverpool) –

Each of the men that shared in our devotional time moved me and I think that can be said for all the HIM in the mix.  It is hard to hear some of the stories and wonder if you have the strength.  The cool part is we only need to worry about the journey God has for us while we support our brothers in their journey.  One is not harder than the other, it is just different.  However, God is not different and he is present in each of the roads we are called to walk.

With our loss of Hunter in 2018, we have had to fall on God’s strength and the people he has placed in our lives a great deal.  You can never prepare for the loss of a child, expected or unexpected, as we experienced but you can work on getting right for however the road might turn.  God was good to prepare us in many ways but there is still more road to be walked and that means staying right.  F3 has been a powerful tool in God’s arsenal to make that happen.  By daily taking the DRP, YHC and, in turn my family, are better and stronger and more suited to answer the call.  You see God does not give us a month’s worth of strength in one day, instead he invites us to a “manna” based relationship where each day we return to him and he provides for our needs.  That is why each day we must continue the journey of getting right physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, with God at the center.

It lines up well with a passage from Ezekeil 36, verses 26-27

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.

The passage shows that an active relationship with the Holy Spirit is not something that happens once but happens over and over.  With Hunter’s suicide it would be easy to focus on the 5 lies (LP explained to the group what these 5 lies were for him) that the enemy wants me to focus on each day.  He wants me to just focus on the past because he has no clue about the future whereas God has already handled the past and present and wants to also speak truth about the future because he has that covered too.  So by having a Manna relationship with him, he instead gives me 4 truths that cover those lies.  Trust me, one of God’s truths could destroy all of the enemies lies put together and our daily choice is whether or not we are going to listen and believe.

I encourage you to start the journey to get right on a daily basis.  The men I was blessed to be with in Peru modeled this for me and it was awesome.  As you do, your manna needs will be met fresh each day.

Other highlights from Thursday:

  • The numbers continued to climb at the workout with 70 HIM’s joining in for the beat-down. The loud complaining about the number of push-ups brought a smile to the Qs face
  • During devotional time we dug into Live Right and had some open-hearted discussion with a few tears of both pain and joy as we reflected on Ezekiel 36:26-27 and God changing out our heart of stone for a heart of clay!
  • As we headed out, most of the morning the PAX painted at the ACAF Kids Center and made the Pencil Fence a thing of “beauty” although it did look like a Smurf may have been put through a shredder with all the blue paint on the ground
  • The afternoon was incredible!  All the PAX were able to be a part of the house blessing and see each of the completed projects with paint and electricity in place.  Awesome to see the work the others had been doing all week but even better was seeing the joy of the families as each one took ownership of their new home.
  • The fun continued in the evening with both a quality beat-down by the Gringos over the locals in volleyball followed by pay-back with the locals whipping the Gringos in soccer.

Friday, Chimbote – 2/15/2019: Devotional and workday #5 (Contributions by Pigskin and My Sharona)

I (Pigskin) had the devotion for the day and my topic was “giving back”.  I used a quote from Mark 10:43:

“whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant”.

The group discussed what it means to be a servant and covered giving your friendship, your sincerity, welcoming a stranger into your midst, and serving your family, companions, church and community. We must listen and support each other while also accepting help from your brother.

Shortly after our discussion we loaded up the vehicles and drove the narrow, bumpy road up the Cerrode la Paz. With each succeeding turn the collective tension rose as the distance down the steep sides grew more unnerving by the second. We could envision the newspaper headline “ muchos gringos estupidos asesinados!”.

But eventually we reached the end of the road and were able to explore the church and the surrounding grounds. Outside the church is monument to the estimated 70,000 victims of the armed internal conflict from 1980 to 2000 involving a group that called themselves the Shining Path along with the government of Peru.  The plaque says: “Truth and Reconciliation, the work of all”.  Also outside the church is a statue to the police and the plaque underneath it includes the names of various officials including the President of Peru at the time, Fujimori. His name was scratched out as he is a controversial figure in Peru who currently is in prison having been convicted of human rights abuses in fighting the Shining Path.

Inside the church is a large wooden carving dedicated to the three Martyrs of Chimbote, Catholic priests murdered by the Shining Path in 1991. This is a reminder of a brutal past that is hopefully, behind the people of Peru. I only saw a portion of the catacombs underneath the church. It is dark and I had to use my cell phone to negotiate the stairs. By that time I finished, most of the group had begun their climb to the top of Cerro de la Paz. Joining the back of the pack we trudged up to the top for magnificent views of the city, the bay, and the nearby islands and of course the Pacific Ocean.

Once we climbed down the road strewn mountain we loaded back into our vehicles and returned via the same treacherous road. Once back to the mission we quickly changed into our bathing suits and loaded up into two large buses along with 100 or our closest friends for a trip to the beach. I was seated across from a child that wanted to play paper, rock or scissors and thumb war. He was so spontaneous and out-going; he seemed thoroughly charming until I realized that he kept beating me.

At the beach, we had the honor of serving our Peruvian friends lunch. We have so much and they have so little that the symbolism was palpable. At this point, we split up with some going directly to the beach, others sitting in the shade and while a small group took a short walk to a wave carved out cave. Also invited on our excursion were 6 young medical students aiding the people of Chimbote.

Soon it was time to leave and we were all touched by the kindness shown by Chino Guapo and Pollo when they tenderly carried the epileptic woman from house #2 back to the bus. Moments like this still bring a tear to our eyes. Upon return to the church, we bought ice cream and handed it out. I got a piece of cake from family of Peach, Tres Hombres, Lulu and Felix.

Afterwards, back at the church, we had the departure party where we again served our Peruvian hosts. Note for next year – white shirts and black bowties should be added to the packing list.  We also had some friendly competition with the locals including:

I sat with my household and asked the father, Oscar how he learned to weld. He told me, by watching others. I also asked him how he bent the rebar for the chairs. I think he had a ‘form’ and hammered it and then welded the pieces together to make his chairs. His work is really very good. I would like to have one of his small chairs. The man is really talented. I admire our family, Oscar, Anna, Juan and Judi. They are very grateful for what we did. But I feel very blessed in getting to meet them and blessed in being of some help to them.

Saturday – Leave Chimbote and all our new friends – 2/16/2019 (Contributions by Caesar and Wegmans)

Saturday morning we awoke and a chosen few walked out to take a jog with F3 Chimbote Elite. Cha Cha, a last minute add, decided after fart sacking on all double down opportunities for the week that it was a good idea to come out and run the 4.5 mile pre-workout. Halfway through, ChaCha was sucking wind so while core Pax ran ahead to Q impending workout, CG and Caesar stayed behind to run /walk the last 2 miles with Cha Cha. Once the workout started we had a big group of men/kids that were amped about F3.  Work out, picture and then the walk back to get ready for Mass.

Mass was a special time for all of us and the tears were flowing all around, especially from the Pax and the families for whom we had built a new home. It was a special time and we all were presented with a picture of us and the families we served.

The Bus ride was touch and go with a few Pax getting thrown upstairs for a scenic trip on the front of the bus. After the long haul to Lima we were all exhausted. Once again several Pax took the high road and avoided bus food to play it safe. In a panic, Chicken realized his assistant had booked his flights a day late but more on this later,

This brings us to our time at the airports. First stop was the Lima Airport. We all get checked in to our various airlines, American Airlines and whichever discount, budget airline the Houston guys flew on.  Some Pax spent a lengthy amount of time trying to be upgraded to First Class for the flight from Lima to Miami. Afterward, the majority of us grabbed dinner at Tanta and a few let their guard down regarding drinking the water. Liverpool and Chelms didn’t heed this advice and ordered a grand mule from the bar with ice. Not sure if the alcohol killed those germs or not, but they can better answer that question. (Editor note – best drink I ever had and didn’t get sick so the alcohol must have done the trick).

After some last minute water purchases and another trip through another inspection area, we bid adieu to our Houston brothers and made our way through yet another security check where we were forced to either chug the waters we just purchased, or toss them out. What a scam those Peruvians are running at the airport. We board the plane and take off for the States with the Carpex guys with us. Some of us were in Gen Pop in the back of the plane while others were sitting on thrones made of gold in first class.  YHC sat next to Stinger in the back of the plane. He enjoyed the in-flight entertainment of Bohemian Rhapsody, while I drooled on his shoulder.

We land in Miami where Kraut gets flagged for having a drug runner’s name and is sent to the special, “C” lane coming back through customs. We all clear customs and make it back through security and get checked back in for our return flight from Miami to Charlotte.

This is where the wheels start to fall off the bus, so to speak. A few guys enjoy breakfast in waves at the Irish Pub, a few guys had breakfast elsewhere, and a handful of the lucky ones, enjoyed a hot shower in the American Airlines luxury box suite in the airport where they are fanned with palm trees and fed grapes while lounging in a plush bathrobe. We reconvene at the gate and say adios to Chicken and the Raleigh guys as they have different flights.

We board the plane and we hear “This is your captain speaking… there’s some problem with the plane yadda yadda yah, everyone has to de-board the plane.” We get off the plane, they “fix” whatever the issue was and we board the plane again. We start to push back from the gate, and get the same announcement. And so, we get off the plane once again, they pull the plane out of service and this is when all one of the principles that we just taught the men of Chimbote begins to unravel.

I (Wegmans) was given some good graces by Caesar (shout out roomie) and was brought into the flagship lounge with Slaughter and Caesar. There were snacks and soft drinks up in this lounge as well as comfy chairs and a chance to relax as we waited for an eternity for our last flight (Wegman’s, who had never traveled outside the US gets the VIP treatment #spoiled). Caesar caught some Zs while other guys were grabbing lunch at the Irish Pub. Slaughter departed for his flight to Tampa and I rejoined the commoners down at the gate. Pigskin, My Sharona, Stinger, Caesar, and YHC were all that were left.

We waited and waited and waited for an eternity for our final flight back home to the Queen city. We’re getting messages left and right from Chicken, Carpex, and Houston all making it home safely. Other guys were trickling back home piece by piece.  Chelms and Slaughter missed a connection in Tampa, but made next flight, which landed in Charlotte almost exactly at the same time as the original direct flight from Miami.

We all made it home safely, at various times, on different planes, but the important thing was that we all made it back to our homes safe and sound. There were many challenges and emotions that arose from our lengthy delays, but we all had to put our faith in God, one last time on this trip, to deliver us home safely, and like every time prior, he delivered.

Naked Moleskin – Other recollections from the PAX

  • 4 guys got a massage (not together – at least that is what they said). Wegmans seemed to particularly enjoy it and paid for this the rest of the week.
  • Caesar missing a ride home from dinner in Lima as we “forgot” him. Somehow he found his way home.
  • Tour of baking/cooking school – KC cooking and Water Wings eating the head of the Cooey (guinea pig)
  • Stingers team getting to their house and discovering that GOPs team in the first week tore down the wrong house so we were building the replacement (they were not really surprised that Team 1 had screwed up and that WE had to fix their mess)
  • Cha Cha’s little white dog running constantly during the workouts
  • Tortuga (“turtle” in Spanish) always getting on the ground as a turtle when we did nameorama
  • Tolkien starting up his drone and then flying it into the fence while we were all working out (he claimed technical difficulty and “insurance coverage” procured by GOP)
  • Zumba studio every night to “lull” us to sleep
  • Power shutting off on people in the shower, especially My Sharona (10 fans running non-stop will do that to a circuit breaker)
  • Two turkeys and a dozen or so guinea pigs at the first house blessing
  • Loved my assigned family more than I ever thought I would
  • Awestruck by the children who latched on and soaked up my hugs and kisses
  • Humbled by the determination and dignity with which the poverty-stricken exhibited while in living conditions and circumstances
  • Deeply grateful for the warmth and welcome received from the NC PAX
  • Witnessed true male strength in the absolute vulnerability exhibited by the PAX during devotions
  • Left the trip more physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausted than ever, but also never was I more fulfilled
  • Getting to know the PAX and really seeing the future of what F3 holds for F3 Houston – the strong 2nd and 3rd F’s
  • Working hard as I went to work out and work hard – everything else was extra and I ended up getting more than I ever thought I possible
  • Seeing the family open up, giving them a safe space to call home – giving them little things that meant so much to them – doesn’t take a lot to show someone love
  • I was surprised at how much seeing the joy in the families and the other PAX affected me. Tears of joy, lots of tear of joy
  • The PAX binding together so quickly and having the trust in each other to share some of the hardest/darkest times of our lives with one another
  • The amount of laughter shared by the PAX, true joy and caring
  • The life lessons taught and caught
  • My build team, how they circled around each other and the family we got to serve
  • Stepping up to pay for the daughters school – it wasn’t even a question
  • Seeing all PAX jump in anytime someone asked for a  volunteer
  • Devotionals and House Blessings – cry, cry, cry!
  • Organized chaos of transfer from airport to bus with luggage and then from bus to bus as the Lima bus station
  • Much nicer bus than expected for the 8-hour trip
  • Nothing but desert right by the ocean, poetically reminiscent of the proximity of the country’s wealth and poverty
  • Surprised by heart-warming musical welcome reception and lasagna dinner
  • Learned that running longest distance ever in donated gear results in blisters on feet and nearly-debilitating knee/ankle pain
  • Jorge (ACAF director and F3 Name “Lex Luthor)) said “thank you for believing in us” at the welcome Mass and that stuck me for some reason as he could have said anything but he told us by us being there it showed we believed in them
  • Pre-run gave a small glimpse into the local living condition
  • Appreciated the ACAF tour but was itching to meet the family and demo
  • Met our family and could instantly see the grandmother’s hardships on her family
  • Prayed our hands could build them a proper house
  • Very frustrated my joints were too beat up to double down everyday
  • Team finished house early and spent extra time at Sister Peggy’s, which was amazing to see a beacon of education in the middle of the barrio with steady traffic of mule-drawn cart
  • Sweat and exhaustion from building felt so rewarding
  • Team 2 decided on stove, armchair and a year of school
  • Nice to have all 16 of us working together at Sister Peggy school
  • 1st house dedication had Team 2 hoping we’d get 1/4 of the same emotional reaction. We were then blown away by our family’s utterly emotional response
  • I will always remember Kati’s smile when she sat in her new armchair, Grusela’s shuddering shoulders as I held her, and Jesus (2yrd old and not our Father’s son) urinating under the table during the dedication
  • Last house had the most kids and was impressed by how aggressive they were while candy is at stake
  • The smiles on the kid’s faces when we gave them wheel barrow rides or played games with them – pure happiness
  • Absolutely loved that we hiked Chimbote’s mountain and bathed in its beaches in the same day
  • Being able to serve the families lunch and dinner was a wonderful treat
  • Thankful for air conditioned bus despite the fact that my knees kept locking up in those seats
  • So much effort for Snoop and I to stay awake before our 1:30am flight (editor note – no sympathy from the rest of us as the Houston PAX were the first to get in their fart-sack at home on Sunday)

And the “camaraderie” continued right up until this BB was completed with Slaughter giving KC a hard time about his ocean outfit –

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